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Get With the Program!

When setting out on a new exercise plan, setting realistic goals will help you stick to your plan and make it that much sweeter when you do eventually cross the finish line.

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First, Use Your Head

There are a few things you should consider before moving full speed into any exercise program. If you’ve been inactive for a period of time, consult your physician no matter what your age. Your doctor can review your program and goals. Together, you can make adjustments where necessary.

The Starting Line

In a race, you begin at the starting line. There is also a starting line in a fitness program – your present fitness level. Before establishing your goals, assess your strengths, skills, and abilities. Be honest and fair. Ground yourself in reality.

Goal Tending

What do you really want? A personal journey requires a road map. Take some time to understand why you really want to get fit. Write those reasons on a piece of paper. Now, figure out how you’re going to get there. Be as specific as you can, breaking your goals down into smaller steps that can be achieved weekly or even daily. Post your goals in a few key places, like the refrigerator or bathroom mirror, and review them frequently.

Keeping a sports and fitness log also helps you stay on track.

More than half (54%) of the women surveyed believe “women need more information on the benefits of physical activity” and even more (62%) agree that women “need more information on how to incorporate physical activity into their lives.

Choosing An Activity

The best activity is the one you like well enough to stick with. Bodies are not alike. Neither are interests. If you love the outdoors – get out. If the energy of a health club is enticing – sign up. If you prefer privacy – stay home. Do the sort of thing that feels right for you and blends with your lifestyle.

Variety

Mixing up your activities will provide a well-rounded workout which will lead to overall fitness. It will also keep you psychologically involved, averting burnout and boredom. Hike one day. Bike another. Join a community league and play softball on the weekend. Plan activities that the family can do together. Or better yet, have them come and cheer you on in a local road race or fun walk.

Justifiable Rewards

As time goes on, the feeling of a strong body and increased self-esteem will be enough reinforcement to keep you committed to your goals. However, in the early stages, there’s nothing like a little immediate gratification as a reward for reaching those first few sub-goals.

A new book, a massage, or a special dinner are a few ways to celebrate. Whatever reward you choose, be sure it keeps you on track. You’ve worked too hard to find yourself on a guilt trip.

Hitting A Plateau

The fitness flatlands are inevitable. At the start of your program, results come quickly. As you progress, things slow down or seem to taper off. A change in your program can pull you out of your slump. Try a different activity. Make some adjustments in your diet. Just don’t get discouraged. From the plateaus you can see the peaks clearly. Readjust your goals, if necessary, and keep climbing.

Personal Goal Tending

Some choose to be fit in order to better handle the demands of everyday life. Others do in order to look better, feel better, keep up with the kids, improve self-esteem, or manage stress. What’s your personal reason?

Why do you want to be fit?

Setting goals will help keep you on track. The more specific you can be with your goals, the easier it will be to stay focused. Do you want to lose weight? If so, how many pounds? How far would you like to be able to run in three months? Would you like to complete your local 5K run?

What are your overall goals?

Breaking your overall goals into sub-goals will help keep you motivated. Short-term goals are steps up the ladder. Success breeds success. Each time you reach a sub-goal, you’re encouraged to move up to the next step. What are your sub-goals?

Nobody said that getting fit is a breeze. But it does get easier as you get into it. The first few weeks will probably be the toughest. But you’ll be taking care of yourself and feeling better in no time. What adjustments will you have to make to reach your goals?

It is important to have a positive attitude in order to succeed. You must see yourself as you want to be. Each day, confirm your goal with a personal statement of affirmation: “I can handle life’s challenges;” “I am successful;” “I am an athlete.” What is your personal affirmation?